Tag Archive: Horror Writers


I’ve said it before and I mean it — it is important to support unknown authors, dammit!  This is true if you love new and original work, but it’s especially true if you want to be an unknown (at least at first) author.  Check it out:

It recently came to my attention (yesterday in fact) that Jason Kristopher, author of The Dying of the Light:  End, is quite a busy man.  Turns out, he has taken up a cause that I can wholly support — publishing authors that normally wouldn’t stand of chance of anyone except friends and family seeing their work.  He operates Grey Gecko Press, whose purpose is “helping foster many new and talented authors in the years to come.”

The best description of Grey Gecko Press is Mr. Kristopher’s own:

“If you’ve ever written a story and been turned down, or if you’re frustrated by the way ‘the system’ works against new authors, or if you just want to try something different, give us a shout. I can’t promise that we’ll publish what you write, but I will promise to listen and to give you a chance. With no preconceived notions or ideas, no artificial barriers.”

So, if you ever thought no one would publish your book or, if like me and just enjoy great work, stop by his site and check it out.  While you’re there, you might as well pick up a book, too.

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Rod Redux

Rod Redux’s horror and fantasy work as described on his Amazon page“The novels of Rod Redux are challenging, subversive and fantastical, merging genres and pushing the boundaries of propriety and good taste.”

I can agree with that.

When I first came across Mr. Redux’s name while searching out a good zombie book, two things struck me:  first, I honestly thought that the name “Rod Redux” had to be a pseudonym (a weird one at that) and second, due to my impression of his name, his books would be very cheesy.  However, instead of just moving on I found a book by him called Mort and read some of the reviews of it listed on Amazon.

At the time, I had been in a zombie book rut — it seemed like no matter which book I purchased I was being let down again and again.  The reviews of Mort on Amazon didn’t help all that much either, as some were good and some were bad.  I am well aware that reviews are all highly subjective and therefore in my mind, suspect.  This is important to me because after all, these books ain’t free.  Against the cynical voice in my head telling me not to, I went ahead and purchased the book.  Man, am I glad I didn’t listen to that negative little pissant voice.

Every once in a while, a book or film comes along that changes your mindset about a genre in such a way that it can never be switched back to its original setting.  This is what happened to me with Mort.  With Mort, Mr. Redux takes a done-to-death (ha ha) sub-genre (zombies) and instead of cheapening or exploiting it, actually manages to enhance it.  It’s not just that he added some twists to the mix (he did), but he was able to combine those twists with characters and a plot that were deep enough to not only keep you interested, but to make you feel involved.  I’m not saying that Mort is Shakespeare or that it’s going to change the world but that doesn’t mean it’s not still one heck of a great zombie book.

After being so pleased with Mort, I decided to check out some of Mr. Redux’s other offerings.  Next on my list was The Oldest Living Vampire Tells All — I wasn’t expecting much.  But again, my initial impression was proved wrong.  It’s an interesting book with a very unique main character.  Suffice it to say that after book number two, I went on and read his other books.  Not all of them had the impact on me that Mort did, but not one of them let me down.  He really is an author you just shouldn’t miss.

Here is a list of his current work, with my ratings:

  • Mort  5/5
  • The Oldest Living Vampire Tells All  5/5
  • The Oldest Living Vampire On The Prowl 5/5
  • Menace of Club Mephistopheles  4/5
  • Hole:  A Ghost Story  4/5
  • Indian Summer  5/5

Mr. Redux is currently working on a new novel, House of Dead Trees, and you can read an excerpt here.  He is also planning on a sequel to Mort, which this zombie fan ain’t gonna miss.

UPDATE 8/19/11:  On a whim, I decided to search around a bit about the sequel to Mort and found this, which indicates he is not writing a sequel.  However, I know I saw somewhere that he said he was after the date of the link above and will post it as soon as I find it again.  Maybe his mom convinced him to write a sequel?  Just keepin ya in the loop!

SIDE NOTE THAT HAS (ALMOST) NO BEARING ON THIS REVIEW:  I have seen a lot of horror book reviews that complain about the amount of sex and harsh language contained within them.  Here is my bottom line on this subject:  if the sex and language is even slightly pertinent to the story, I could care less if they are having orgies on Mars while screaming “Fuck Me Harder Beltran!” every other sentence.  It’s a HORROR book people; it is supposed to push boundaries.  If you don’t like that, there are plenty of books written in the same genre that leave all of that out.  To be fair however, some authors do like to add extra curse words and detailed sex scenes for no apparent reason and I agree it gets annoying, but only because it can take away from the story.  But even if they do that though, there is something you can do to make it go away right quick — flip the page.  You might just enjoy the book in spite of it.

The Dying of the Light:  End by Jason Kristopher

The Dying of the Light: End

This is one of many books I choose sort of haphazardly based on the “items others have purchased” function on Amazon’s website.  Whereas this tactic often lands me with a book that I have to struggle to finish and/or deal with poor to non-existent editing, it’s still a worthwhile endeavor for a few reasons.  First, there are some real gems to be found this way and second, I am a true believer in reading works by authors who would have never been published back in the day (support unknown authors dammit!).   This is how I found The Dying of the Light:  End.  I should warn you, I am a fan of reading a story as fresh as possible.  So, I give as few details as possible on everything I review, while still attempting to ensure it is accurate and informative.  I also do not read any reviews before I write mine, so for better or worse, they are untainted by what others  have said.  On to the review…

The story is a zombie tale which is told primarily from the point of view of a somewhat reluctant soldier, David.  It begins with an interesting few chapters of a fictional history of the first zombies and a couple of characters brought in again later in the book.  Overall a nice, if a bit oddly placed lead-in to the rest of the story.

The majority of the book tells the tale of a government group of super-secret (aren’t they all?),  elite soldiers known as AEGIS (Advanced Experimental Genetics Intelligence Service) and their role with a zombie problem facing the world.  It’s not a typical “end of the world” tale, as it does not take place after bazillions of zombies decided to start chomping on humanity.  As I tend to enjoy those types of books, I thought this would make the book boring, but Mr. Kristopher does such a good job of character development and story telling that I was happy to be wrong.  (It also has some pretty good zombie chow-downs to boot, but lacked a little in the gore department for my tastes.)

Although there is a bit more soldier and gun lingo than I would like, it’s not nearly as bad as some books that ooze with so many military acronyms I lose track of what weapon is what, much less which calibers.  In this book the lingo makes sense, and it seems like the author tried to tone it down a bit for the sake of us civilian readers.  Thanks man, I appreciate it.

All in all, this was a solid book with a pleasant mix of zombies, military good guys, science and history (albeit fake history) and I recommend it.  On the negative side, there were a few slow areas but not enough to make me lose interest.  There were also a couple too many love scenes between the main character and his woman, but we are saved from falling into the romance novel porn pit that some horror books  throw us into.  Lastly, I would have liked to have seen more of a few of the lesser characters, some of which didn’t make it to the end.  That sucks.  But, since a sequel is on the way, The Dying of the Light:  Interval, I am hopeful to see the ones who did manage to make it very soon.  If that link doesn’t work for you, here’s another just in case.

YOU JUST MIGHT CARE, SO:   The Kindle version of The Dying of the Light:  End includes a preview of Interval.  I was impressed and very much intrigued.  It’s a definite buy once released.

For those that are unfamiliar with Jeff Strand, he’s a horror fiction writer whose work is probably best described as horror/comedy.  Probably.  Well, maybe.  It’s hard to pin down exactly what he does in his books without writing an essay — and since I wouldn’t torture you with what would surely be a hot mess — I suggest you go and grab a copy of one of his books and see for yourself what I mean.

Jeff Strand

To date, the books I have read of his are limited to what is currently available on Kindle, which means there are a few out there (The Haunted Forest Tour, for one) that I am totally pissed off I can’t get from Amazon.  (Yes, I know I could order the paperback and wait for it in the mail, but that would require some degree of patience, of which I have none.)  Anyway, his books have a way of blending horror and comedy that turns the horror story on its head.  You end up (at least I did) caring a great deal about the so-called “monsters” in the stories and coming away with a kind of reinforcement of the morals mom tried to teach us, and we promptly forgot (or mentally deleted on purpose).  Odd?  Yes.  Fantastically different?  Absolutely.

Take Benjamin’s Parasite.  I sincerely feel that you have no soul if you didn’t care about well, Benjamin’s parasite.  Sure, you cared about Benjamin (mostly) but what is not to love about a parasite that can speak to you in your head and tells you it’s your best friend constantly?  It knows you really, really well and still loves you.  I don’t know about you, but I need more friends like that.

So, if my blathering didn’t turn you off to Jeff Strand’s work, here are some of his other offerings I highly recommend (in no particular order):

  • Dweller
  • Fangboy
  • Wolf Hunt
  • The Mad and the Macabre:  Kutter
  • Mandibles
  • Pressure
  • The Sinister Mr. Corpse

For a complete list of Mr. Strands work, click here:  http://jeffstrand.wordpress.com/

PS.  If by chance you ever read this Mr. Strand, you did kind of piss me off with the ending of Dweller, but I forgive you.  More importantly, I am sure Owen forgives you.

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